Macy’s forecasts upbeat 2021 sales on stimulus checks, online shoppers By Reuters

By Aishwarya Venugopal and Melissa Fares

(Reuters) – Macy’s Inc (NYSE:) forecast 2021 sales largely above Wall Street estimates on Tuesday as the retailer bets on its growing online business and on the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts allowing customers to return to its department stores after pandemic curbs.

The upbeat outlook from the U.S. retailer follows better-than-expected sales in the holiday quarter as stimulus checks and strong online demand eased the blow from the health crisis.

Macy’s expects sales between $19.75 billion and $20.75 billion for the full year, compared with analysts’ estimates of $20.13 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Macy’s said its annual forecast accounted for some pandemic-related challenges in the spring season with momentum building in the back half of 2021.

On Monday, the U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 500,000.

Retailers are tipped to benefit from another wave of stimulus-driven consumer spending in the coming months as U.S. Congress considers the Biden administration’s support plan that includes sending a $1,400 check to households.

Same-store sales on an owned basis fell 17% in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, compared with Wall Street estimates of a 16.60% fall, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Macy’s online sales jumped 21% in the quarter as it pushed for faster delivery times with stores being used to fulfill orders made on its website and app as more consumers move their shopping online.

The company now expects annual online sales to reach $10 billion within the next three years.

Beauty, home, jewelry, and casual apparel performed well in the quarter, Macy’s said.

Net sales fell to $6.78 billion from $8.34 billion in the fourth quarter, but beat estimates of $6.50 billion.

Shares of Macy’s were up about 2% in premarket trading, after also handily beating expectations for quarterly profit.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported a profit of 80 cents per share, above expectations of 12 cents.

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